Background There is evidence that the specificity of the IgE binding in allergy tests can vary for different populations.
Objective We aimed to examine the allergenic specificity of IgE binding in sera from house dust mite (HDM)-atopic subjects in a tropical Australian Aboriginal community.
Methods Sera shown to contain IgE antibodies to an HDM extract of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus were examined for IgE binding to a panel of nine purified HDM allergens from this mite species by quantitative microtitre assays. IgG antibody binding (IgG1 and IgG4) was also measured.
Results The IgE-binding activity in the sera from the Aboriginal community was not directed to the expected major groups 1 and 2 HDM allergens but instead to the group 4 amylase allergen. There was also little IgE binding to the potentially cross-reactive tropomyosin (Der p 10) or arginine kinase (Der p 20) allergens. The IgG4 antibody was rarely detected and limited to the Der p 4 allergen. IgG1 antibody binding was frequently measured to all the allergens regardless of an individual's atopic status, whereas in urban communities it is restricted to the major allergens and to atopic subjects.
Conclusion The high IgE anti-HDM response of Australian Aboriginals predominantly bound Der p 4 and not the Der p 1 and 2 allergens, showing a distinctive allergy that could affect the disease outcome and diagnosis.